Are you a coach who loves statistics?
If you’re not, you should be!
Our league uses PublicationSports for stats, game schedules and many tournaments. It’s the French-language version of PoweringSports. Our league is responsible for updating the details of the games our team has played, based on the game sheet. That information details which players scored the goals and at what time, who was credited with the assist, penalties, total penalty time, wins and losses on both the team and player basis.
Armed with even those stats, a coach can see a lot at a glance. To see what I mean, take a look at the following link.
But when it comes to knowing more about how your team is truly performing, those stats alone are not good enough. You really need to measure Shots On Goal (SOG) – both by your players against the other team, and the other team, against your goalie.
A shot on goal is a shot that is either stopped or is declared a goal. It doesn’t include attempted shots that go wide of the net, or shots that ricochet off the crossbar. The shot on goal needs to be within the area of the net.
In the post I wrote on motivating the players, Coach Guy asked his forwards if they would be able to make five shots on goal each in the game. They said yes and were up for the challenge, although as we will find out through the numbers, that goal of 5 shots was a bit optimistic. In Game 1 of that 5-shot challenge, our team had 24 shots on goal, converting 3 into goals. In Game 2, the SOGs were the same, but they netted 5 goals.
In order to gather these stats, you need to have some help. The best-case is having someone who is unbiased, like a non-parent or sibling who has player knowledge (has an ability to recognize who’s who from a distance), who has access to the press box, giving him or her a bird’s eye view of the game. Since that’s probably not going to happen and few teams have those resources or capabilities, you need to make due. For our team, Coach Guy counted the shots, but also asked our goalie coach to shadow him. Coach Steeve was in the stands, recording all the shots made against our goal, by our team against their goal, and the kind of shot was made – slap shot, screen, one-timer, etc. At the end of the game, the two put their stats together. So far, their numbers have matched.
Refining these statistics down to the player level gives the coach the real data he or she needs to reflect on the performance of the lines, or as a motivation tool. What Coach Guy found, after two outings and two successive wins using the 5-shots-on-goal challenge, was that only one player was able to reach the challenge in both games.
Great stuff…but not so fast. If we look deeper, we see that those 10 shots only netted 1 goal by that player.
And looking further, we see that’s just a part of the story.
Because what happens when you shoot on goal?
I’m glad you asked! One of three things happens. The shot goes in, it’s stopped by the goaltender, or it’s deflected but NOT stopped. When it’s deflected, it can give your players another opportunity to shoot on goal again.
That’s exactly what happened. The player with 10 SOG may only have 1 goal, but he’s also earned 5 assists over two games. So, no, he’s not the scoring leader, but he’s extremely implicated in the game. And being implicated when it comes to shots on goal and goals scored, is a very positive thing.
Are your players implicated?
Find out. Get someone on your team to help you get the stats you need to get a clear picture of what’s happening with your players. And don’t look just at those stats, combine them with other data you may have like goals and assists scored and penalties taken.